UOI OFFICES (NIPISSING FN), Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - It's been a full year
since the Ontario government directed businesses in the province to
respect the treaty rights of their First Nations customers, but Bell
Canada still has many of them on hold.
"We hear from our First Nation citizens on a weekly basis about tax
exemptions that are not being honoured by retailers and
telecommunication companies," says Anishinabek Nation Grand Council
Chief Patrick Madahbee. "The point-of-sale exemption for the Provincial
Sales tax portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax was confirmed on Nov. 1,
2010. How does anyone justify ignoring the law a year later?"
First Nations citizens living near the Quebec/Ontario border say their
telephone service providers are really giving them the runaround.
Since the 13% HST was implemented on July 1, 2010, First Nation
telecommunications customers have been entitled to the HST exemption if
they live on reserve and exemption of the 8% PST portion of the HST if
they live off-reserve. This applies to First Nations that are on the
Ontario/Quebec border. But this is not apparently the case for some
Eagle Village First Nation residents near Temiscaming, Quebec, who are
being charged HST by Bell Mobility for their cellphones, but not by
Bell Canada for their landlines.
A Bell Mobility customer service representative hung up on an employee
of the Union of Ontario Indians who was inquiring about the HST
exemption for border communities.
A Revenue Canada memo says customers living in Eagle Village First
Nation are entitled to receive the HST exemption from Bell Mobility.
"It's the inconsistencies with Bell Canada that are really annoying,"
says Madahbee. "It seems to depend on who you're talking to at Bell
whether we get the exemption or not."
The Ontario Revenue Agency states that those eligible for all or part of
the HST exemption are:
Status Indians who are from an Ontario First Nations reserve (including
a reserve that straddles the Ontario-Quebec border),
Status Indians who reside in Ontario, or
An Indian band or council of a band of an Ontario First Nations reserve
(including a reserve that straddles the Ontario-Quebec border).
Bell Canada asked First Nations customers off reserve to send copies of
their certificates of Indian Status and a refund form to FAX number
1-877-338-3013 and using the request form
To report a retailer not honouring the PST exemption, call the Ministry
of Revenue 1-866-668-8297.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member
communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.
The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in
Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires,
which existed long before European contact.
SOURCE Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Communications Officer, Union of Ontario Indians
Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290)
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